Psalm 23:3-Follow your Guide.
June 14th, 2020

He restores my Soul.  He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

He restores my soul

In Psalms 43:5, David cries out during one of these times Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.  And this looking to God to restore his soul is what these times are all about, to teach us where our help comes from. Jesus said in Mathew 5:3 blessed, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God!  We don’t usually look at these times as a blessing, but these are the very times that we learn to let God provide for us.

He guides me

The Lord is the one who guides us in the paths of righteousness.  God literally led the Israelites out of their old life and through the wilderness to the promised land in the Exodus.

Israel first had to leave Egypt before God could lead them through the wilderness.  Abraham first had to take that step of faith to leave Ur of the Chaldeans before God could lead him on the journey to the promised land.  And we must leave behind our old life, and let God take the lead before God can guide us on His path for our lives.

Paths of Righteousness

The right places

When the Bible says the paths of righteousness here, it means paths leading to the right places, the places with grass and water and the places of God’s rest and ultimately to Heaven.  We pray continually for God’s guidance.  (1 Thess 5:17, Eph 6:18, Luke 18:1) 

Righteous Paths.

David’s also talking about the right paths in terms of righteousness or right-living.  The Hebrew word translated “righteousness” in Psalm 23 is the same one most often translated “straight.”  When we walk in righteousness, in the Way that God has taught us to walk, it keeps us out of a lot of trouble and makes us much better able to defend ourselves when we come up against opposition. 

Righteous Shepherd

What David is trying to convey here, is that the paths are the Righteous, Faithful paths BECAUSE of our Shepherd who is Righteous and Faithful.  It’s because of His character that we know that whatever path that HE leads us on are the right paths.

Until we recognize our lost condition we will never see any need to turn around, to repent, to correct our course. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me”. in John 14:6.   There’s no way to be free from God—you are either free in God through the redemption that Christ has bought, or you’re still a slave to sin—there’s no middle ground.  True freedom is only found in God, there’s no other option.

Surrender to God

In order to be guided by God, we must surrender our desire to guide ourselves.  But it is when we meekly surrender, that He guides us. Psalm 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: And the meek will he teach his way.  It is the person who is submitted in humble obedience that the Lord will guide Psalm 25:12 tells us Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

How God Leads

He leads by His Word

The primary way that we receive knowledge of God is through His Word.  As David says in Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 

He leads by His Holy Spirit

13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

So the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth, speaking only what He hears from God above, just as Jesus did, and letting us know what’s around the next corner.

If we want discernment in our way, practice obedience in our walk. 

For His Name’s Sake

paths of righteousness are the only paths He could lead us in, because righteousness is part of His character.  These paths are the only ones worthy of His name. 

He will not only help us along the path, but just as we have presented ourselves as a living sacrifice, He will one day present us to the Father as one of His.  Jude 1:24-2524 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and [t]forever. Amen.

Psalm 23:2 Rest and Recuperation (R and R)
June 7th, 2020

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 

God as our shepherd provides for our spiritual nourishment and refreshment

It’s only when we heed Jesus’ instruction to lie down, and we let Him lead us by the quiet waters, when we obey, that we receive these times of refreshing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

Sheep usually stand

Sheep stand because they are afraid; sheep rest when they are free from fear

Because of all those potential predators like wolves, coyotes, dogs, bears, and lions and the like, sheep are easily frightened. 

Fear and anxiety can be both harmful to us personally, and cause us to make decisions that are not in our best interest or in the interest of our calling as disciples of Christ. 

But if we ourselves are afraid, we will not find the rest in God that will let us trust Him to lead.

Sheep stand to eat because they’re hungry; Sheep rest when they are Well-fed

Just as sheep are well-fed on grass, we as believers are fed on the Word of God.  

When we dwell in the Word of God, we receive the comfort that we need.

When we eat it—apply it to our lives, then it provides nourishment for us.

Sheep stand because they feel friction within the flock

The most dominant sheep will butt those who they think are less worthy than themselves .

To sow discord, or to cause problems among God’s people, is the exact opposite of what God expects as from us as one of His children (Proverbs 6:19). 

We also can’t use the Bible as a club to beat people over the head with.  When we correct or admonish, we must do it in love, just like God does with us. 

Sheep stand because they are tormented by flies and parasites

Sheep have kind of an issue when it comes to flies and parasites because they don’t have hands to be able to get rid of them. 

These can sometimes be circumstances that just seem unfair or seem to be trouble tailor-made to get on our nerves.

These can sometimes be people who just seem to rub us the wrong way, or who’s habits and mannerisms just seem to bother us.

 Give them to the Lord.

Sheep stand because they search for greener grass

Some sheep are just restless and discontented.  Even when they have good pasture, good water a good shepherd, they’re always looking out longingly at the other side of the fence

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

Rest in the Lord

So what does it mean to rest in the Lord?  

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

God wants to give us His rest

He leads me beside quiet waters.

we need His guidance, so David says “he leads me.”

Jesus leads us by His example, and the gentle drawing of his love. 

The Lord provides for our spiritual needs.

The still waters are very much needed by the sheep as we receive cooling refreshment from the Holy Spirit, reviving us from our weariness and refreshing us when we are thirsty.

John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

This joy of communion with God, our spirit with the Holy Spirit, the refreshment that is always available to us as we are lead by Jesus by the still waters, freely able to drink of the living waters.

Psalm 23: The LORD is my Shepherd
May 31st, 2020

The 23rd Psalm is a Psalm of comfort, a Psalm that celebrates right relationship between God and Man. 

In the twenty-third psalm, God reveals himself primarily as our shepherd.  As we

The relationship that David is talking about here between himself and God is a forever relationship, that should be getting deeper and more fulfilling for us all of the time. 

23 The Lord is my shepherd,

The Lord

Who is my Shepherd?  The capital LORD in your bible tells you that the word used here is Yaweh, the divine name of God. 

When we read this psalm, we tend to focus on all of the 7 things that the Lord does for us that are mentioned.

But look how the Psalm begins and ends.  The psalm is about God, what He does. 

The tone of the 23rd Psalm is at its heart very personal.  Up to now in the Psalms, God has been referred to as king, deliverer, or even the impersonal rock or shield, but calling God our shepherd emphasizes the relationship between God and us.  David is thinking about the comfort and care that God gives us personally. The trust that the sheep place in their shepherd, confident that He will lead them rightly because of who He is.   

Psalm 23 is a song of David proclaiming his confidence as one who has lived, having put his trust and faith in God as his Lord, and who will carry this confidence through death and beyond to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. 

Who’s shepherd his he?

My shepherd--Personal shepherd

God is only our shepherd if we are His

The 23rd Psalm is written from the perspective of the sheep.  King David is giving us a picture of what it’s like to be one of God’s sheep.  Psalm 100:2 says Know that the Lord Himself is God;It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  And again in Psalm 95:7  For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

Calling us believers sheep is not so much a complement to us, as it is a picture of the total dependence that we have on God as our shepherd.

King David calls himself a sheep.  Sure, he is King over Israel, but he is most fundamentally also a sheep, just like all believers, under the care of the Great Shepherd, the Lord.  It’s important to remember that first and foremost, we are all fellow brother and sister sheep under the care of our Great Shepherd.

See God doesn’t look at things the same way that men do.  God looks at the heart.  It’s often the ones that people overlook that God uses and elevates because they’re not going to get prideful and full of themselves.

Shepherding sheep was the traditional occupation of Israel.  It was because the Israelites were shepherds that they came to live in the land of Goshen.  As we read in the Exodus of God sending his plagues to the Egyptians, we see over and over, God sparing the land of Goshen from the plagues.  God made a distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians in these plagues, using the separation of the two peoples.

See this lifestyle of trusting the Lord and letting the Lord be our shepherd is going to be loathsome, or hated or disgusting to non-believers.  This life we have been called to separates us, just like it separated the Israelites living in Goshen from the Egyptians elsewhere in Egypt.  As Christians we are consecrated, set apart for service to God. 

I shall not [be in] want

Notice that the LORD is his shepherd now—present tense.  The Lord is now my shepherd, and notice that David is saying, so I won’t be in want in the future.  It’s a statement of trust and faith in God’s power to provide

want” means a lack of something that is needed.  It’s not so much that the LORD will give us everything that we desire. In Psalm 84:11 it says For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  

No good thing does God withhold from those who walk uprightly, but many of the things that we desire are not good for us, at least in the way and in the timing that we want to see that desire fulfilled. 

prayer is always answered.  Sometimes the answer is Yes, sometimes the answer is No, and sometimes the answer is Wait